Saturday, August 30, 2008

The Bug Whisperer

On Friendship and Persistence

Dylan and Sadie were digging around in the dirt the other day, when Dylan came across some busy little ants. He had this to say about them:

DYLAN: Mom ants are mean.

ME: Why do you say that?

D: Because they sting you and it hurts.

ME: (Trying to be the definitive, cool, scientific fact Mom) Yes, I guess ants will do that. But it's only because they are so small and they think you are a giant. They think they a have to protect themselves so you won't hurt them.

D: But I'm not a giant. Mommy tell the ants that I'm not a giant!

ME: Well, I don't think they can really hear me say that. Ants don't have ears, you know. If you don't want to get stung, why don't you just dig in a different spot?

D: (slightly disappointed) Ooooh.

This is what I heard a few minutes later:

(a few octaves higher than normal) Hey little dudes. Heeeyyy, little dudes. Hey. I am NOT a giant. I want to be your friend. Do you want to be my friend? See I am not a mean giant. I am a nice little boy. Do you want to play with me?

(a few moments later) Ooooowww! Mommy, those ants stinged me. They are mean! Hey, ants! I don't like it when you do that!

(more than slightly disappointed) I guess they think I am a giant. Or maybe they don't have ears.

Hey look! A little beetle. Beetles won't sting you! Do beetles have ears?

Hey, little dude. I am not a giant. Do you want to be my friend?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Someone please peel me off the floor

because I am so blown away that I am lying here flattened. And I mean that in a very good way. The best possible way to be knocked to the ground.

Did you see Michelle Obama's speech last night? Did you really watch it? Did you listen to it? Did you feel it?

I knew it would be good, because I have been impressed by her before. She's genuine, well spoken, passionate, and inspiring when she speaks. But last night was so ridiculously beyond what any tiny little fragment of my brain could have mustered up in its imagination good that I have lost any words to describe its awesomeness. And every time I try to write about how amazing I think the speech was or how incredible she is, I start to cry again. So I can't see what I'm writing through the blur of my tears, besides the fact that I am lying here on the floor trying to get up and can barely manage to reach the keyboard with the one hand that I have gotten unstuck, let alone see the screen. Thank goodness I was holding the TV remote when I fell because it ended up right next to me and I was able to rewind and watch a few times (no less than 4, maybe more).

So what do I really want to say about the amazing awesomeness of Michelle Obama and her speech last night? Because if you saw it, you know exactly what I'm talking about. If you didn't, get thee to YouTube immediately and do whatever you have to to catch even a shard of what she said. Because you will be inspired beyond your wildest dreams.

What I want to say is that I have always been for Obama, even in the early days of the primary. Forget a president that I feel like I can hang out and have a beer with. That is what got us stuck with the guy that's in the oval office right now. But this family? I want my kids to grow up living next door to these people! I want them to come over on Sundays for a backyard barbecue and a swim in the pool. These are people that practice the values every day that I want my life to be about. So last night only made my desire for an Obama presidency stronger.

What I want to say is that listening to Michelle last night talk with so much passion and conviction about her and her husband's dreams for our country (not for themselves, no selfish personal aspirations to get to the White House) made me want so much more for my own life, for my family. I want to be a better wife, a better mother, a better sister, daughter, friend. I want to deserve the love and admiration that my husband and kids have for me. I want to volunteer for a cause. I want to aspire to greatness in my everyday life with the people that I have around me. I want to be a good person. I just want to be better. If we all wanted that? Now there's change we can believe in.

That kind of ass-kicking I can handle for 8 years. Even if it means that I am occasionally reduced to flatness on the floor. Because I know when I'm finally able to get up, I will be better. So much better.

Edit: Hey, I just got this email from the Obama campaign! (Nicely said, Barack.) Anyway, you can watch her speech here if you missed it last night:

Becky --I am so lucky to be married to the woman who delivered that speech last night. Michelle was electrifying, inspiring, and absolutely magnificent. I get a lot of credit for the speech I gave at the 2004 convention -- but I think she may have me beat. You have to see it to believe it. You really don't want to miss this. And I'm not just saying that because she's my wife -- I truly believe it was the best speech of the campaign so far.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Conspiracy Theory

I know what you're thinking. And you would be right. Not my kids. Don't even know who they are. I found this photo when I googled "Tempe Marketplace Splash Pad." Because I don't have any pictures of my own kids playing there. Not for a lack of trying. If mom-of-the-year was awarded on effort alone, I would hands down win in the category of taking my kids to the splash pad to play in the water. But we go, and we go, and we go, clad in swimsuits, slathered in sunblock, bag full of towels and dry clothes, fully prepared to get soaked. And my kids have yet to actually get wet in these fountains. (Okay, that isn't entirely true. They did play there once, but that wasn't why we had gone there in the first place and I wasn't prepared with towels and extra clothes. So I was a little grouchy about it and didn't let them experience the splashiness in its entirety. And another time that we had gone prepared, we waited around for so long to actually get to play that they were over it before they got wet.) If I didn't know better I would say that someone is conspiring against me.
A little background, in case you have never been to the Marketplace and have no idea what I am talking about. Tempe Marketplace opened last fall and is this hip, urban shopping, dining, entertainment destination. There is a fabulous outdoor courtyard area between shops and restaurants and a movie theater that is great just to browse and walk around in. There are a million things to keep curious toddlers entertained for hours, even without the splash pad. Bonus for me, there are misters everywhere and it is cool and shady throughout the courtyard, so it always feels like it is at least 20 degrees cooler than the actual outside temperature. Plus the splash pad is surrounded by umbrellaed tables and shaded couches. So the first time we meandered through there last October or so I remember thinking that it would be a great place to bring the kids all summer when we get bored and stir crazy in the house because it's too blazing hot to do anything outdoors.
Enter the heat and the many trips to the Marketplace Splash Pad. Since June, I figure we have headed over there with the sole purpose of splashing and cooling off 8-10 random different times. And not one of those times did that happen. You are going to think that I am exaggerating, because, how is it possible? (Unless, of course, someone is plotting against me.) But I kid you not: Every single time that we have gone to play at the splash pad, we have found it strewn with tools and repair guy. No water. No splashing. No playing. No cooling off. Just fixing. And watching repair guy fix. (Or not fix, really. Because the place isn't that old. How much fixing can a less than 1 year old fountain need? And 8-10 random times? Obviously it never got fixed in the first place. Because what are the odds that all summer long I happened to venture over there on the only days that it ever needed repair? Unless, of course, someone is plotting against me.)
So for next time, could the people over at Tempe Marketplace please include me in the distribution list for the memo containing the repair schedule? So I don't get my kids all hyped up only to have their hopes dashed against the soft, spongy, dry, splash pad surface? Because even though it is a hip, urban, misty, shady, cooler than outside surface to be dashed upon, it's still not fun to watch repair guy every time. Or to try to explain why, once again, there will be no water fun today, to a 1 and 3 year old.
And if you're planning to hook up for a play date with us any time soon, you might want to double check I got that memo before you mention splash pad at Marketplace. Because if we do plan to head over there on any random day, I will apparently, through no effort of my own, jinx the playing potential.
Lastly, to the beings that conspire against me: Even though you have thwarted our every attempt for fun at the splash pad, you still can't take away the points I've earned trying!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Denver, Baby!

This amazing woman (my sister!) has been elected to represent Arizona in the Democratic Delegation and will be heading to Denver this weekend for the Convention. (Contrary to popular, albeit misguided, belief, we do not all worship the ground that John McCain walks on here in this great Southwestern territory!) This is her first time as a delegate and she earned her spot through lots of hard work and dedication to the political process. Katie is one of the most well spoken, educated, liberal, feminist, politically involved women that I know or could ever hope to be. Stop by her convention blog for a read, but only if you don't have one of those elephant bumper stickers on your car. Or maybe especially if you do. You might learn something!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Mayor of Dreamville

(I know. I already used this picture a few posts ago. But it's my blog, and I'll re-photo if I want to!)

You know how when your kid is 2 and does something once or twice and it's cute so you encourage it and now they're 3 and that cute 2-year-old thing is a really annoying habit that you wish you had never encouraged in the first place because now it can't be undone?

Last summer when Dylan was 2 we visited his aunt and uncle (Scott's sister and brother-in-law) in Kansas City. We were putting him to bed one night of our visit and Aunt Diane did this little bedtime ritual with him that she had done with her boys when they were smaller. She took some dreams out of her pocket, shook them up in her closed hands, then opened her hands over his head to let the dreams pour in. Short, sweet, simple, done, he's ready to drift off to dreamland. The ritual was repeated with Aunt Diane each night we were there. A few days after returning home, Dylan asked for dreams. Short, sweet, simple, done, right? What harm could there possibly be in that? Besides, I was feeling desperately guilty that he only sees Aunt Diane once a year for a week or so at the most and they'd had such a connection on this trip and I wanted to nurture that for him and for her so that he would instantly love her the next time he saw her. Thus the removing of the dreams from the pocket and the placing of them into Dylan's head became our bedtime ritual, always with the reminder that Aunt Diane had sent the dreams for him.
It is now a year later and this short, sweet, simple, done ritual has morphed into a never ending, knock down, drag out battle for the perpetual delay of actually laying the head on the pillow to drift off to said dreamland.
"Why do you have dreams in your pocket?"
"How did they get in there?"
"Do I have dreams in my pocket, too?"
"What are the dreams about?"
"I need more dreams than that!"
"You forgot to get the dreams out of your other pocket, too."
"Now the dreams are coming out of my head. You need to come and put them back in."
"What is a dream?"
"But I wanted dreams about..."
Every. Single. Night. Without. End. (I know, I know. They're only small once and I will miss this when it's gone, blah, blah, blah.)
Last night Scott was putting Sadie to bed and Dylan wanted to help. "I have to give her dreams,
Daddy." (So adorable, yet so dangerous.)
NOOOO! Sadie will have to learn another route to Dreamville.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

In the Closet

So I may have broken my tailbone. Really, it's probably just a little bruised and sore and I want to whine. Just a little. Here's how I did it:

(I know, not the best picture, phone camera. Then I didn't get any pics of us actually on the ice because the battery died!) Saturday was Sam's birthday (10th!!) and we all went ice skating because that is how he wanted to celebrate. (Did I say, "Thanks, Sam! GREAT idea!"?) Anyway they have these "nifty" (NOT!) walkers for the little guys to help them not fall on the ice. These walkers don't help the parents, who are trying to help said little guys balance, to not fall on the ice. That being said, it has been at least 18 years since I have donned ice skates, so one fall for the entire night isn't too bad. It hurt a little when I landed, right on my keester, but I got up and kept skating. (I am proud to say that I managed to not pull Dylan down with me. Because I know you're keeping track of my points toward Mom-of-the-Year.) Later I couldn't sleep very well because it is very hard to find a position that doesn't put any pressure on the tailbone. Which I never would have known otherwise, but would have been perfectly happy to go through the rest of my life ignorant of. And it has gotten increasingly painful over the last few days. If you know anything about these types of injuries, please leave a comment. I've heard there isn't much that can be done for a broken tailbone, medically speaking, but a little something for the pain would be nice. Stronger than Advil, please. (See, just a little whining.)

Needless to say my running shoes have remained in the closet so far this week.

Update Wed. 8/20 evening.: No drugs needed. Thank you, Massage Envy!

Update Sun. 8/24 morning: I, um, seem to have *wink* aggravated the tailbone injury last night. So much pain! Please send drugs.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Random Acts of Sadieness

Going through my August photos, I found many, many faces of Sadie. So this post is a showcase of everything that is her. Few words are needed. (Maybe queue up song #2 on the playlist?)

Mornin' sunshine!

MYYYYYY Ice Cream!!!

I didn't do it!!
Future career?

You be quiet! It IS a cute hat!!

If you love my attitude now Mom, just wait until I'm 13!!

Mommy, PLEEEEEASE let me out!!

I love my big brother!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

School Boy

In preparation for Dylan's first day of school, Scott finished his desk and it was waiting for him in his bedroom when he woke up this morning. It is a vintage school desk which was mine growing up. We repainted it and replaced some of the wood. Now it will be Dylan's. He already has the compartment loaded up with stuff.

Ready to go. "How do I look?"

Here, Dylan is playing on the playground before school with some of his new classmates.
He is pretty over the moon about all of the construction related toys, especially this one below. It has a scooper for the sand that he can control with the levers.
Mrs. V. did an outstanding job of convincing the kids that it was time to leave constructionland behind and go into the classroom.

Lined up for counting practice. Let's make sure everyone's here.

Rarin' to go, he was the first one in!
So I didn't cry. Well, I might have teared up just a little bit. And maybe I was a little too choked up to say good-bye. After the kids went inside, Mrs. V did an equally outstanding job of convincing the parents that it would be easiest if this was now good-bye, although we were more than welcome to hang out in the room if we wanted too. So I poked my head in the door to tell Dylan that I'd be back in a while to get him, and to have a great day. He was fine. He didn't need me to reassure him. So I cried, just a little bit. And that's it. The only very first day of school that he will ever have, ever. And it was perfect. Because he can't wait to go back. Which is all that I had hoped for.
(Edit Wed a.m.) I woke up this morning and found an email from Dylan's teacher. Enclosed was this picture that she took of him enjoying playdough. It was so nice of her to send the photo, even though I think she might not like us very much right now. Apparently, at some point during the day Dylan asked her when she was going to play her loud guitar for them. So she wants to know where he got the idea that she would be playing a loud guitar for her students. I guess when Scott has a discussion with his son about possible school activities, including music time, he shouldn't say, "Maybe so, you should ask her," when asked by his 3-year-old if his teacher would play a guitar during music time. Although we sincerely appreciate her efforts to rise to any challenge presented by her students, I hope Mrs. V wasn't up too late scouring the community class schedule looking for guitar lessons!

Monday, August 11, 2008

One more sleep until...

As I post this, Dylan is tucked into bed asleep. Tomorrow is his first day of preschool. He has no idea that tomorrow will be different from any other day. We've visited the school before, and met his teacher. I don't think he distinguishes "going to school" from any of these previous visits. Since he doesn't really know what "going to school" entails or anything about those first day jitters, I am feeling them for him. I am excited for this big step in his little life, and proud and (more than) a little bit nervous. Really, I just hope he likes going to school. Because isn't that all a parent should wish for their child? That they grow up happy? Sweet dreams, little boy!

(I must give credit to Dylan's teacher for the title of this post. When we met her, she told him, "Four more sleeps until you come back to school." I hadn't thought of communicating the passing of days in this way before and it makes way more sense than telling a three year old, "tomorrow" or "in a few days." Thanks Mrs. V. We are really looking forward to the school year! Here's a link to her blog, Diary of a Preschool Teacher, if you care to read and know why we think he's going to have an outstanding school experience!)

Friday, August 8, 2008

Boating, anyone?

We just got back from a week in the Midwest visiting Scott's family. Unfortunately, we didn't unpack the camera until the last day of our trip, so these are among the very few photos that we actually took.

Dylan and Sadie enjoy the view of Lake of the Ozarks from the deck at Grandma and Poppa's:

And a view from the boat:

Can I tell you how much Sadie loves wearing her life vest?

These are probably the last photos that we will have of Dylan and Sadie at the Williams' lovely lakeside home. They have decided to move inland and have their house on the market, so this was a pretty nostalgic trip for us. A couple of happy side notes to Grandma and Poppa's new venture:

First, their new home will border a golf course, so Poppa will never be more than a stone's throw from a round of his favorite pastime.

Second, we are soon to acquire the boat pictured above. In their infinite generosity, Scott's parents have offered to sell us this gently used water craft in pristine condition for a very fair family discount price. Scott will be travelling back soon to haul it home. I have a feeling we are about to discover friends that we never knew we had!

Saturday, August 2, 2008


(or why I will never really be a runner)

I haven't told many people yet, but maybe saying it out loud (publishing it in my blog?) will make me actually get my fat ass out of bed in the morning. I am planning to run the P.F. Changs Rock 'n Roll half marathon in January. Yes, I have run a marathon, and a half marathon in the past, as well as some 5 and 10 K's. No, not on the same day and no, I wasn't really a runner back then either. The last time I ran or raced was over 4 years ago, in case you were wondering. Now that Scott and I have decided to be done reproducing, I no longer have an excuse to hoard fat on my body in preparation for incubating another human. So it's time to get my pre-prego shape back.

Since most of my day is spent chasing after two small children (does that count as actually running?) and since it is so fuh-reeeeaking hot here my plan is to beat them out of bed and beat the heat by getting up at 5:00 to go for a daily run. I am a morning person. I look forward to the solitude that running (imagine air quotes around the word running here) provides and it's pretty much the only down time I get. Plus, I like running. Period.

Here is why my plan is far from foolproof:

1. When Scott travels and I am left as the sole caretaker in my home, I can't exactly take off for an hour jaunt around the neighborhood just because my kids are still sleeping and won't know I'm gone.

2. When he is here and I have the chance to follow through, I tend to bypass the snooze button and just go straight for off. Maybe if I hit it really fast it will be like it never sounded in the first place. My excuse will be, "Darn it! Forgot to set the alarm again! Well, too hot now and the kids are up! It'll have to wait for tomorrow." (It's not like I ever even go back to sleep after turning it off either. I just don't want to get out of bed!)

3. Lately, I would rather blog than run, especially because the former reduces the risk that I will be reported to Child Protective Services (see excuse #1).

4. I have never really been a runner.

So here's my new plan: Panic!! because

a) I just spent $89 to replace the running shoes that I hadn't worn for 4 years. (Yes, the above picture is a view of my new running shoes on my feet as I lie in bed pretending to have not set the alarm! No, I didn't wear them to bed so that I could jump up and be ready to go. That would be silly! I turned off the alarm and couldn't get back to sleep because I was thinking of running but didn't want to get up yet. And I was thinking, "this could make a great post." So I got up to put the shoes on and find the camera, then laid back down to take the picture. Pretty clever, huh?)

b) It is only... well I don't really know how many days until P.F. Changs because I'm not that good at math but, it's like, the second weekend in January which is only 4 months away! (See, not that good.)

c) I have only been able to run (again, air quotes) about 3 miles. I have a long way to go (literally).

d) Did I mention my fat ass?

Alright. It is 7:10, not that hot out yet, Scott is home, I'm outta here. Wish me luck!

Update at 8:15: Didn't run. Too hot!

Update at 11:30: Off to the airport. Running shoes didn't fit in suitcase.

Friday, August 1, 2008

That Gay Boy

(Not that there's anything wrong with it!)

Relating the story of the gay boy requires two prefaces. I will probably kill the punch line before you get to it, but bear with me.

1. Dylan is in this phase of identifying strangers that we encounter in various places by the color of clothing they have on. The man stocking the shelf at the grocery store in a black shirt is perhaps "that black guy" over there (as in, "Hey Mom! What is that black guy doing over there?!" said in the voice of a toddler with no concept of an inside voice), or the girl with her mom at the library might be "the green girl and red lady" to name a few examples. It makes for interesting conversations with complete strangers whom I will probably never see again.

2. While it is possible to have an intelligible conversation with Dylan on virtually any subject known to man (or at least imaginable by a 3 year old), he has a few pronunciation issues, especially with the consonant blends. School is sool, bread is bed, and so on.

Do you get where I am going with this? Have I ruined it for you yet? Keep reading, the punch line is worth it.

So today we're at Chic-fil-a (our absolute favorite family friendly fast food place, BTW) enjoying the delightful toddler play area after a lovely lunch of various chicken items. Dylan befriends another child in the play area who happens to be a three year old boy. "Mom, that boy is thee, just like me!" (It's not a typo.) They are playing like three year-olds and friend decides to visit his mom sitting just outside the door to the play area. He opens the door to leave and Dylan starts to follow him out. We're sitting inside the play area with him and don't want him to go out, thus the following dialogue:

ME: Dylan, stay in here with us.

DYLAN: (yelling with door still open) BUT MOM! THAT GAY BOY IS MY FEND! I WANT TO GO WITH THAT GAY BOY!!

ME: (can't stop laughing, door is still open, then finally) What?!!

DYLAN: (door is now closed so said boy's mom can't hear explanation) That boy's shirt is gay just like mine and he's my fend!

Ooohhh. Not exactly the conversation I want to have with gray boy's mom. Sorry lavender lady!

(I'm so glad that gray boy's shirt didn't have a flag on it.)